what's the buzz

what's the buzz

Wine intake may cause pancreatic problems

A study has warned against use of Resveratrol supplements, which is a plant compound found in the skin of red grapes and in peanuts and berries, among other plants by pregnant women.

The study revealed that a widely available dietary supplement that had been considered safe - and that some claim provides anti-aging and other health benefits - caused significant developmental abnormalities in the pancreas of offspring of pregnant monkeys who were given the supplement.

The supplement form of the compound has been available in pharmacies and health food stores for years, with claims that it has a wide range of health benefits. The compound is thought to be an anti-oxidant and an anti-inflammatory, and some animal studies do confirm some benefits. All previous studies had found it to be safe in humans.

Researchers at Oregon Health and Science University’s Oregon National Primate Research Center and the University of Colorado-Denver were focusing on some of those potential benefits when they began studying the compound in monkeys.

The research indicated that resveratrol did provide some real benefits in the pregnant monkeys, including improved blood flow through the placenta to the fetus. Placental abnormalities contribute to many of the pregnancy complications and health issues with babies of obese women who eat an unhealthy Western diet.

But the researchers also found an effect that surprised them - resveratrol had a significantly negative effect on the development of the pancreas in the monkey fetus. The pancreas is critical for the body’s regulation of blood glucose.

Babies even at three months can identify stand-out objects

Researchers have said that even by three months of age, babies are visually able to locate objects that stand out from a group.

Psychology Professor Scott Adler in the Faculty of Health, who led the research, said for example, an infant can pick a red umbrella in a sea of grey ones, added that this indicates that babies at a very young age are able to selectively extract information from the environment, just like adults.

The study revealed that infants, like adults, were able to pick out a single R character among increasingly larger groups of P characters. The R is considered to have a distinguishing, unique feature that stands out.

That means they are just as adept at locating specific stimuli among competing and distracting stimuli in their environment. In addition, the infants showed a similar an asymmetrical pattern of detection to locate the unique target as the adults.

The study also looked at what happened when infants and adults were given a “feature-absent” target among distracting “feature-present” objects, such as a P among varying sized groups of Rs. In this case, the infants were less efficient at finding the differing letter without a distinguishing feature.

“This is called ‘bottom-up’ attention and it comes from the environment and goes up into the processing system,” explains Adler. “Top-down attention is where your goals, ideas and thoughts control where you attend. You have voluntary control over what information you’re going to choose to process.”
Yoga may not be of much help to asthma sufferers

Researchers have said that even though yoga is often suggested to asthma sufferers to help alleviate symptoms, a new study has found little evidence that yoga will improve symptoms.

Researchers of the report examined 14 previously published studies to determine the effectiveness of yoga in the treatment of asthma.

Holger Cramer, PhD, lead author of the study, said they reviewed the available data to see if it made a difference and found only weak evidence that it does. 

Yoga can’t be considered a routine intervention for patients with asthma atthis time. But it can be considered an alternative to breathing exercises for asthma patients interested in complementary interventions.

In the review, 824 adults were part of 14 studies examined for evidence that yoga improves control, symptoms, quality of life and lung function in patients with asthma.
 Participants in the studies were from North America, Europe, Asia, Africa, and Australia. Because only one trial included children, the effects of yoga on children couldn’t be evaluated.